Alien probing? Not as far as I recall.

Trip Start Jun 16, 2010
Trip End Aug 23, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Saturday, July 3, 2010

Slept so very very well, despite the wierd dream being out on the streets of Juarez dodging narcogangs. Obviously yesterday had a big effect on me.

Keen to soak up as much of Ciudad Juarez as possible I went out for breakfast. On the recommendation of staff had a top meal in a cafe only a couple of blocks from my hotel. Unfortunately I didnt get the name of it but Im going to track it down. A hip bohemian kind of place with the most attractive staff. I want to recommend it to everyone. In amongst this hipster crowd started to feel as though I was in a normal city again. Quickly brought back down to earth though when a small boy ran in and took the toast from my table. The waitstaff were really apologetic and replaced it gratis.

Spent the rest of the day wondering about that kid. He looked the same age as my son. What has his life has been like so far, when will be his next meal, whats in store for his future? Dont feel all that positive about any of those questions.

Putting it behind me I did another short wander back to the hotel to collect my things. Keen to walk back to the border, want to experience as much of the city as possible. Decided on a cab instead, its only a few blocks but would just be so much easier. Left the last of my pesos with decent hardworking locals and sadly said goodbye to Mexico for the last time.

All up Im so glad i came to Juarez. It was obviously the worst that Mexico has to offer all in one city so does not form my impression of the country. It was good to experience, but also good to leave. I'm going to remember a lot of people from this city, from this mornings waiter, the old lady selling roses on the corner, the young guy juggling at the intersection for change. Will always wonder how their lives have turned out. With the federal elections taking place this weekend, theres the very real possibility the violence is going to ratchet up a gear, if such a thing is even possible. Juarez is a sobering place.

I looked at El Paso in a new light today. Suddenly the grubby downtown looked cleaner, more loved. I got a better appreciation for the place. Delighted to find my car waiting for me, jumped in filled up with some cheap Texas gas ($2.61 a gallon) and returned to New Mexico.

Leaving town I turned on Tom Waits, real fitting. Seems that no one else was on the highway to New Mexico, I covered vast distances seeing very few other travellers. Crossing the border immediately got that cool vibe again. Unfortunately those extra couple of days spent in California have cut into my time in New Mexico. Tonight was going to be my only overnighter in the state.

Pulled over on New Mexico soil, just for a second to take a swig of whiskey. Just seemed the appropriate thing to do :-) . Not far down the road made it to the Carlsbad Caverns. A huge network of caves, this was impressive. I spent quite a while here in fact. Despite the volume of the caves I got a little spooked, claustrophobic at times. Pretty amazed at the lift at the end of the tour which shuttled us back to ground level. A small walk around on a trail through the surrounding landscape was equally impressive. I love this area; dry, rocky, cactus. And once again- hot.

Back at the gift shop restaurant for lunch, burgers fries coke. Not the coolest of places to stay but pretty much the only choice.

Turned up at Roswell mid afternoon. Really cool, quirky little town. Visited the alien museum which was kitsch and tongue in cheek, they only took themselves slightly seriously. Real highlight. As a kid I was fascinated by the ufo history in this area, devouring any books I could get my hands on. Therefore it was great to come and see the place first hand. I was surprised at the size of the town, thought it would be bigger. Now there really wasnt a lot to do, I went to a bar for an early dinner and couple of beers. A bit of a strange crowd, a couple of locals there, also a tableful of odd rural type. Wasnt in the mood for making friends and didnt stay too long. Must say though I think it could have turned into a really interesting night if I'd stuck around.

One of the goals of this trip was to muster up the courage to spend an evening in the great outdoors. As long as I can remember Id always thought it would be a really cool idea to spend a night in the desert. Although I was so keen to retreat to a motel room with comfortable bed and warm shower I decided tonight HAD to be the night to do something absolutely memorable-park up in the middle of nowhere and sleep over.

So this is were it gets a little spooky. Hit the road heading for Texas and drove looking for a safe spot. Stopped about 25 miles out of Roswell. Pulled off into a side road in a completely remote area. No lights, no houses, yet still within eyeshot of the highway. Wanted to be able to see the occasional vehicle drive by, didnt want to be completely alone.

And this is were I spent the night. Must admit to being very nervous. Sure it could have turned out very badly; but I wasnt discovered and robbed by rural methheads, the local biker gang didnt beat me up and steel my gas, and I wasnt abducted and probed by aliens either (as far as Im aware). What I did suffer was a crappy nights sleep which also gave me a sore back. Small price to pay for such an incredible night. I will always remember the evening I slept in the middle of nowhere.

Waking up at 3am, I had to stretch my legs. Sat on the hood of the car watching those billions of stars up above, eerily yet peacefully quiet... something really hard to put into words. I felt insignificant. Yet also part of an amazing big universe. So glad I had talked myself into doing this. Much better being out here in nature than staying in a 70s motel room back in town.

And yes, for the record, I did spy a couple of lights going across the sky. I believe they were just satelites, nothing other worldly. Maybe I'll get hypnotized in 20 years time to find out I actually spent the night in Ursa Major and have fathered an extra terrestrial kid.

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